Audible War #2
Gruuthaagy/Bone Machine (Split CD)
Skull Fucking Metal, 2012
Review by Kent Manthie
This is an interesting disc. Audible War #2 is a split CD by two similar bands that have transcended the speed/death metal genre as well as metal machine noise and have dove into experimental, esoteric “anti-music”.
I really dig the first track (the 1st 3 tracks are by Gruuthaagy and tracks 4-6 are by Bone Machine), which, because of the gothic script it’s written in on the back of the CD sleeve, makes it difficult to read, but it looks like it reads “Crne Zastave”, which looks like it could be a Slavic language of some sort – the kind where they use a lot of consonants and fewer vowels. Anyway, this tune that starts off the album is about 12 minutes long and is just a slowed down repetition of a series of progressive guitar chords, with no other instruments backing it. Even though it may have a somewhat redundancy and go on and on, there’s something quite hypnotic about it – it’s not headbangingly monstrous, a la Cannibal Corpse, but more reserved, relaxed, although at the same time, there is an ominous vibe to it – one, if you’ve never heard it before, will keep you guessing whether it’s going to suddenly explode into a bloody screaming murder scene, but, they don’t do that, they just, or rather, the guitar player, just stands there, trance-like, crunching those chords. The second tune is even longer – “Robija” is a 15 minute jam, with the whole band chiming in – drums, bass, guitar – to a slowed down, horror show of dark matter.
When I first put this CD in, to listen to it for reviewing, I expected a really experimental, rip-roaring, Gothic machine-noise CD, but, boy was I surprised, when, instead of typical death-speed-metal fashion, they played their nonetheless scary anthems in a slowed down pace; one you’d never hear on a Slayer album, et al.
While only containing 6 tracks, it showcases two independent, underground metal bands: Gruuthaagy and Bone Machine. The former is a “one man band” that came on the scene in 1992 and was influenced by “total noise” bands, 7 Minutes of Nausea as well as ATTA. Unlike the 2 aforementioned bands, Gruuthaagy were not about making “noise for noise sake”, instead they’ve evolved from the “noise” metal of their heroes to “no-fi”, home-made “audio terrorism”. Throughout their first 10 years Gruuthaagy spanned the distance from “total noise pollution” to what they’re doing nowadays, which is a unique, experimental and sometimes esoteric “anti-music”. Over that time they’ve released numerous demos, singles, they also peppered several compilations with their music.
In their second decade Gruuthaagy really developed even more occult-inspired darkness, using much digital soundscapes and uncompromising sonic intensity. Their ingenious craft does not fit neatly into any “box”: they run the gamut from speeding, aggro, Teutonic gigantism to avant-garde ambient metallic drones which often touch upon both mysticism as well as sarcastic blasts at the huge amount of hypocrisy in the world (so much to throw stones at, etc.)
Bone Machine is another great band who has the same style as Gruuthaagy does on this release. The three tracks they contributed were also atmospheric, layered ascetic dark grooves. Their second and third tracks, “Babiy Jar” and “Dark Matter”, respectively, both featured sampled voices, some just distorted, hard to understand rambling and on “Dark Matter”, there were samples of George Bush I giving a talk on TV, back in 1991 talking about the just-commenced “war” on Iraq, due to Saddam’s disobedience by invading our friendly, oil-rich pals in Kuwait, which turned Saddam from a friend to whom the US gave lots of arms and money in order to crush the hated Iran in the long, drawn out Iran-Iraq war that, basically, lasted throughout the 80s – from about 81 until 89. But when Saddam crossed that line (literally) by invading Kuwait, he became Persona Non Grata per the US Govt. and GHW Bush sent the troops to Iraq to kick this former ally, now PNG, Saddam & his ragtag army out of the emirate of Kuwait – no bastion of democracy, itself, but a big repository of oil. Anyway, Bone Machine deftly utilizes samples of Bush I’s speech and played it over there droning, aggressive cool music.
Needless to say, Audible War #2 is the type of CD that is such a pleasant surprise to find – 1st of all, you aren’t going to find it at your local independent record store (I think just about all the corporate, chain record stores (Tower, Sam Goody, Wherehouse) have all gone out of business – unless you consider Best Buy, which besides selling just about every type of electronic item – from computers to washing machines, also has a surprisingly decent selection of music at their stores; in fact, I don’t even know if you can find it on Amazon, which is such a great marketplace – it’s amazing what you can find there and how cheap some of the prices are for certain CDs, so, even though I haven’t actually checked Amazon.com, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were up there. But for now, you can go to http://www.geocities.com/skullfuckingmetal to get this disc. –KM.